Wild Is Life Zimbabwe

Wild Is Life and ZEN (Zimbabwe Elephant Nursery) is home to a variety of injured and orphaned African wildlife just outside of Harare. You can experience this charming sanctuary by booking a morning tour which includes a decadent high tea in their gorgeously rustic barn.

Wild Is Life | berrysweetlife.com

When I went home to visit my family last November, (my first trip back to Zimbabwe in 6 years) they booked a morning tour for us at Wild Is Life on a Saturday.

We arrived there at around 10am and were greeted by their friendly staff.

If you have kids with you they will be utterly in awe of the miniature ponies that you meet on arrival.

Wild Is Life | berrysweetlife.com

My niece said this was her most FAVOURITE part of the whole day, lol.

Never mind the baby elephants, giraffe, buck and pangolin. Nope, the ponies were the real deal.

I digress.

After the amazing ponies, you will move on to meet the elephants (with a few buck and wildebeest in the mix). Contact is not allowed between the guests and the elephants which I wholeheartedly agree with. 

Wild Is Life | berrysweetlife.com

One day these ellies will hopefully be fully rehabilitated and released back into the wild – that is the aim. And so the less contact they have with humans the better.

The young ones still need to be bottle fed and so you watch while their handlers feed them, and the ellies interact and play with each other. It’s so sweet.

Wild Is Life | berrysweetlife.com

While you observe the elephants, your guide for the morning will give you some history about each elephant – their situation when they were discovered in the wild and why they needed rescuing, a little about their rescue and how they have coped with integration into the herd at ZEN.

I actually met their very first baby elephant, many years ago when I went to Wild Is Life for the first time, Moyo, who is now the matriarch of the herd and is doing extremely well.

Wild Is Life | berrysweetlife.com

Once you’ve heard all about the elephants, it’s time to meet the giraffe.

Wild Is Life | berrysweetlife.com

We only had one giraffe join us for the morning mulberry leaves – the handlers don’t force the animals to come up to the lodge if they don’t want to, so it’s a luck of the draw kind of thing.

This sweet fella was more than enough for us though! 

And he got to eat every last mulberry leaf all to himself…He had many eager little hands wanting to feed him. 

Wild Is Life | berrysweetlife.com

Kids will absolutely adore this experience. Hold on tight though! This giraffe pulls those leaves off each branch with some force. 

My nephew said “Salsie, hold onto me!” he didn’t want to get lifted off the ground along with his branch, lol. 

Now it was time to meet “Marimba” the pangolin.

If I remember my facts correctly, Marimba is the oldest surviving Cape Pangolin in captivity. I believe she is around 16 years old, and was rescued from the illegal wildlife trade at less than a year old and taken to Wild Is Life.

Wild Is Life | berrysweetlife.com

Marimba has had the same carer for all this time – pictured here – Matteo Mambe. 

Wild Is Life | berrysweetlife.com

She lives a semi-wild life, free-ranging for ants and termites with Matteo for hours and hours each day. 

Pangolins are one of the world’s most endangered species, poached mostly for their keratin scales. Such a sad reality. 

And sadder still, pangolins tend not to reproduce in captivity as they are intensely shy and private animals. Which makes it even more imperative that they are protected in the wild.

Wild Is Life | berrysweetlife.com

In a report released by the Wildlife Justice Commission, a staggering 206 tons of smuggled pangolin scales were confiscated between 2016 and 2019. 

Considering that scales contribute to only about 20% of a pangolin’s body weight, it’s easy enough to see that these shy, nocturnal, slow-to-breed creatures are under enormous threat. 

Wild Is Life | berrysweetlife.com

The compassion, care, and protection that Matteo and Wild is Life–ZEN provide to Marimba makes her one lucky pangolin.

This brought our tour to high-tea-time…

Wild Is Life | berrysweetlife.com

We relaxed in the comfort of their newly built “barn” which has several gorgeously decorated seating areas – one for each party – which is ideal.

Wild Is Life | berrysweetlife.com
This was our spot

Trays of savoury and sweet finger foods and coffee will arrive at your table and you can help yourself to a wide array of teas and cool refreshments from the main table. 

Everything was decadent and delicious, my only tiny criticism would be that there could have been more savoury options as it is around 12pm now, everyone is hungry, and the sweet treats far outweighed the savoury options.

That being said, I have a major sweet tooth that I keep under wraps most of the time, and I really did enjoy this high tea.

We had mini scones with strawberry jam and whipped cream topped with fresh strawberries, cucumber sandwiches, crunchies (AKA delicious oat bars), brownies, mini cheesecakes in glass jars and macaroons.

Wild Is Life | berrysweetlife.com

After fully enjoying the high tea experience, your guide will collect you for the final leg of the tour…

(*Fun Fact* – I used to work for the tile company that makes the handmade tiles in the picture above – Burnt Earth)

Where s/he will take you to see the 3 lions that reside here – all have come to be at Wild Is Life for various reasons.

Wild Is Life | berrysweetlife.com

And as you head back to your car you will walk past the cheetah enclosure. On our visit the cheetahs had been a little sickly and so they didn’t make an appearance. But I’m sure they were fit and flourishing again shortly.

If you’re in the Harare area and looking for a wildlife experience without having to drive too far, this is a great place to take overseas guests or children for a taste of Africa, a yummy tea and a dose of education.

Wild Is Life | berrysweetlife.comions that reside here - all have come to be at Wild Is Life for various reasons.
Me with my big brother

For more information and to make a booking, go to Wild Is Life and ZEN.

It’s taken me a while to get this post up!  As I write, it’s currently 9 Feb 2022 and I am off to Zimbabwe again next week for my mom’s 70th birthday celebration. 

Wild Is Life | berrysweetlife.com

While I’m there we’ll be spending some time at the great and beautiful Lake Kariba, and we will take a day trip to Imire which I will be sure to share on the blog when I get home. 

Wild Is Life | berrysweetlife.com

Until then, take a look at my healthy recipes if you’re looking for some delicious meal or sugar-free treat inspiration. 

Thanks for reading!


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